Improve Concentration

Many of us do not realize that improving concentration is actually a skill, which may not come naturally and which we might have to learn and then to practice constantly in order to perfect. Although we are all able to concentrat or focus some of the time, at other times we entertain too many different thoughts and ideas so that our minds end up racing from one thought or idea to another. This is when the term “scatterbrain” comes to mind!

If we are going to concentrate successfully, we have to have several factors in place. To make this happen:

o We need to make a personal commitment to put our full effort into this task.
o We need to be enthusiastic about doing this task, to show an interest and even enjoyment about seeing it through.
o We need to have the knowledge to do this task so that we can be confident that the task will be successful. If we are anxious because we don’t know enough to complete the task, this can impair our concentration.
o We need to be in a good emotional and physical state to concentrate and complete task, making sure we feel rested, relaxed and comfortable before we even start.
o We should not be distracted by other things when concentrating on the task to be done.
o We need to be in comfortable surroundings without too much noise, extreme temperatures or too many people around.

When we start to improve our concentration level, we should not be over ambitious. Start with a few minutes at a session and then gradually increase the time span. The main barriers to our bid to improving our concentration are the three intrusions of boredom, anxiety and day-dreaming. Every time you find this happening, tell your self to stop. It does not help to try and put these thoughts out of the mind, you just have to be firm and command yourself to stop. Use the stop technique every time something happens to interfere with your concentration. Focus on what you have to concentrate and don’t allow yourself to be distracted.

If you are a real worry-pot, then allow yourself the luxury of a special time each day (and a limited special time) when you can worry about everything under the sun. If you find yourself starting to worry during a period of concentration, remind yourself that you can worry about that particular problem during your special worry time and banish the problem until then.

So follow these tips to help you concentrate:

o A period of relaxation and enjoyment before starting the time of concentration can be very helpful.
o Give yourself a manageable time in which to concentrate, and then gradually increase this time span.
o Give yourself a break between concentration periods with some light exercise, drinking water or popping outside for some fresh air. Making phone calls or checking emails would not be an appropriate break!
o Give yourself an incentive or a reward when you have achieved and maintained a period of concentration. You know yourself what you would consider a suitable reward!
o Ensure that your environment is comfortable without distractions – no phones, no TV on etc.
o Ensure that you are mentally and physically fresh when starting a concentration task
o Ensure that the problem you are experiencing is not one of concentration but rather a lack of understanding of the task to be done.
o Avoid the use of stimulants to aid your concentration.
o What you put into your body affects the way you concentrate. If you suffer from sleep deprivation, use stimulants, or eat fatty unsuitable foods, these can all impact on your concentration levels.
o Make a daily schedule – this helps to focus the mind, holding it steadily on one thing at a time and in the right order.
o It takes 30 days to make or break a habit – so keep up the concentration habit on a daily basis for at least 30 days and you will be well on your way to better concentration.

Concentration has been defined as “the ability to direct one’s thinking in whatever direction one would intend”. You need organization but more than anything, you need focus.